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Chiefs-Saints: three big takeaways from Week 15

The Chiefs played better than the box score might reflect.

Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs had another big win on the road against a playoff team — beating the New Orleans Saints 32-29 in a physical game. We broke the game down on the AP Laboratory Postgame Show — as presented by Ruback Fine Jewelry.

Here are three big takeaways from the game:

Patrick Mahomes played better than his stats

His stats weren’t bad, but he was even better than the three-touchdown, 254-yard performance would tell you. Despite several drops and some absurd plays to give his weapons a chance, Mahomes still had a productive day against one of the best defenses in the NFL. Mahomes was as creative as he’s been this entire season — and that’s saying a lot. He found some receivers out of structure that let him down a few times or the scoreboard would look different. The late pitch at the second level of the defense on the option play in the red zone was a brilliant way to close the game out. Mahomes played great and advanced his MVP case over Aaron Rodgers.

Now, we hold our breath

We’re all waiting to find out the news about Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The rookie running back was having perhaps his best performance running the football this week before an injury in the fourth quarter forced him to be carried off the field. It looked bad, as he did the splits while being tackled. Before that, Edwards-Helaire had 14 carries for 79 yards. Coming off one of his best performances in the pass game the week prior, he looked prime to make a difference in the playoffs. Hopefully, that is still the case.

The defense was good!

It probably looked worse than it was defensively for the Chiefs. There are a lot of positives to take away from this performance. If a few plays go differently, this game isn’t close. The Chiefense was dominant in the first quarter before surrendering an explosive pass play on third-and-10, in which Tyrann Mathieu appeared to drive on a shorter route — not expecting Drew Brees to challenge vertically. Two big penalties allowed the Saints to move the ball with ease down the field to open the second half. They surrendered a short-field touchdown after a Mahomes fumble. In between those scenarios, the Saints went 1 of 11 on third down and Brees completed only 44% of his passes. Rookie L’Jarius Sneed came up with yet another interception and the Saints offense was only able to muster 285 yards on the day. Like with Mahomes, the optics of the game don’t match what was largely a good performance from the defense — still with room to improve.

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